10 ridiculously easy (and free) ways to write faster
At least once a week I get to host an online writing marathon—Write Like a MOFO.
The writing marathons are each three hours long and sometimes the ladies in there are able to crank out a mind-boggling amount of words.
Sometimes, we write fast, and sometimes we write slow.
Maybe it’s the pressure of the New Year, but a question I’m hearing a lot from clients lately is:
How do I write faster? It feels like such a slog!
First, I need to tell you that my written words don’t always come out fast. It takes practice. And the more you develop your writer’s voice, the easier it will feel.
And even if it feels easy, it still might feel “slow.”
If writing feels slow for you, here are some ideas to make it feel faster:
Have a plan before you begin.
If you go into a writing session knowing what you’re going to talk about, you can dive right in.
Write something that you KNOW you can write fast.
If your typing feels more sloth-like than bullet train, consider first writing something that you know you can write quickly. Is it an email reply to your bookkeeper? A Facebook status update? A survey response for your last visit to Starbucks? Warm up those writing muscles and write something else before diving into your writing project.
Talk it out.
Google Docs now has a voice typing feature! You can also use the talk to text feature on your phone and email yourself a bunch of text. I “write” at least half of my blog posts this way. Often in the car while shuttling kids around town. This trick may also help you if you’re sitting in the same chair and struggling to write. By getting up, taking a walk around the block, you may be able to speak more easily on your topic. Then you can come back and edit later.
Warm up with journaling.
Morning pages is a term coined by The Artist’s Way Author, Julia Cameron. It’s three full 8x10 pages of whatever word diarrhea comes out of your brain first thing in the morning. Written longhand, no editing, and definitely no filter. Read more about how I use this tool here. We also do this to warm up before every Write Like a MOFO session.
When it’s time to sit down and write, see if you can get out of your head and onto the page. Perfectly polished prose rarely falls out of any writer’s fingertips. First, get all your ideas out and onto the page. You’ll go back and edit later.
Set a very reasonable goal.
Perhaps it’s simply one sentence, 100 or 1,000 words. Just like I automatically get up and get dressed to head to the gym in the mornings. Once I’m at the gym I may as well workout. Setting an easy to achieve goal, and then hitting it will help build your momentum and confidence. When you hit your goal—stop. When you come back to your writing project you might be even more excited than ever to get started.
Set a timer.
You could try using a free tool like Toggl or setting a Pomodoro timer. If you want to use an offline tool--the timer on your stove works well too. Set a timer for 5, 25, or 60 minutes and focus only on writing.
Write an outline first.
A few days or even a week before you plan to sit down and write, jot down some bullets of the topics you’d like to cover, and then when it’s time to write, jump into your outline and fill it out.
Separate research from writing.
If you’ll need to add links to research for your articles, write the article first, add a note or comment where you need to add research and then come back to it. You can also hire someone to do this for you, leaving the creation to you and the details to someone else.
By embracing the shitty first draft (SFD), you’ll write with terrible spelling, awful grammar, and even worse punctuation. Editing is where the magic happens.
Have fun with it! And also remember that to compare your writing times to others is the same as comparing your rough draft to someone’s bestselling book. Just don’t do it!
For more inspiration on writing quickly and often, you might like these:
And if you want to join about a dozen other business owners who are writing fast, check out the MOFO Community and see if it’s right for you!